Belgian Audi Club Team WRT took a resounding victory in today’s Endurance Cup opener at Imola as GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS competition resumed in spectacular fashion.
Each driver played a role in the team’s success. Vaxiviere took the start and ran fifth throughout the opening stages, which were led by the #66 Attempto Racing Audi of Frederic Vervisch. The pole-sitter maintained his advantage into the opening corner and showed good pace, pulling away from James Calado in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari. Raffaele Marciello slotted into third in his #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, then snatched second with an inch-perfect pass on the Ferrari driver.
The Silver Cup class was won by the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, driven by Patrick Kujala, Alex MacDowall and Frederik Schandorff, which emerged as a serious contender during the second half of the race and assumed the lead following a collision between class rivals Garage 59 (#159 Aston Martin) and Tech 1 Racing (#15 Lexus). The Aston took runner up spot, beating the Lexus after a close-fought battle that ran for much of the three-hour contest.
Though they missed the Silver victory, Garage 59 were clear winners in Pro-Am as the #188 Aston Martin finished an excellent 14th overall. Indeed, the British squad was nine places clear of its nearest rival at the finish thanks to an excellent showing from the crew of Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam. Runner-up went to the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari, which was less than a second clear of the #26 Sainteloc Audi. The #108 CMR Bentley of Bernard Delhez, Romano Ricci and Stephane Tribaudini ran in the Am Cup class and took the chequered flag in 31st place overall.
Following the opening Endurance Cup round, GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS will remain in Italy for its next event, which will see the Sprint Cup kick off with a trio of one-hour races at Misano (7-9 August). The Endurance Cup will resume with a six-hour contest at the Nurburgring on 5/6 September.
Today’s race launched the 10th season of competition for the Endurance Cup and hinted at another action-packed campaign for the long-distance championship. Indeed, with racing back underway once more, the battle has truly begun.